FAQ: How to Use Sphere

Can I use the Sphere microphone with any mic preamps?

Yes, as long as they have 48V phantom power and two available preamp input channels. We recommend using preamps with precision-matched gain controls.

Can I change the microphone model and polar pattern after audio has been recorded?

Yes! All Sphere settings (except the pad switch on the mic) are adjustable during and after tracking. 

Since Sphere offers so much control in post production, does it matter how I position the mic?

Yes. As with any mic, positioning is important. With Sphere technology you can directly adjust the amount of proximity effect of the mic, but if there is too much boominess due to where the mic is positioned, then repositioning the mic might be the best solution.

Can I use a Sphere microphone without plug-in processing as I would with a conventional mic?

Absolutely! Simply connect the front output (leaving the rear channel disconnected), and use the Sphere microphone as you would any cardioid condenser microphone. 

When recording sound with Sphere, the left channel in my DAW is much louder than the right. Is there something wrong?

No, this is normal. The Sphere microphone has front and rear capsules. When capturing sound from the front of the microphone, the front output will be considerably louder than the rear. To ensure levels are set correctly, you can use the calibration switch on the mic to accurately set gain.

Why does the level sometimes change slightly when I change the microphone type?

Because different microphones accentuate different frequency ranges, there is no level matching that will work perfectly for all program material. Great care was made to match levels as closely as possible for typical sources.

How can I send my Sphere tracks to other people for mixing?

There are two main options. One is to "freeze" the tracks so the processed audio is saved to disk. Or, you can bus the output of Sphere to another track and record it.

How do I commit the mono output from the Sphere plug-in with Apollo’s Console?

Starting with the Sphere plug-in on a stereo linked channel, select UAD REC mode in Console, so that the processed audio will be recorded in your DAW. Then use the UAD Sphere plug-in (not the stereo output UAD Sphere 180 plug-in) and record the left or right output of the stereo channel into your DAW. The end result is just like recording a conventional mono microphone into your DAW. Note that Console allows you to commit processed audio on individual channels as well, instead of all channels. See the Apollo software manual for details.

Can I use Sphere with Universal Audio’s Unison preamp modeling?

Yes, definitely. While we generally recommend that the Sphere plug-in be inserted first in the effects signal chain, good results can be achieved with a Unison plug-in placed before the Sphere plug-in. For optimum results, the Unison preamp should be set for cleaner sounds.

How do I record in stereo using a Sphere microphone?

It is possible to record a 180-degree coincident stereo arrangement from a single Sphere L22 or DLX microphone using the Sphere Mic Collection 180 plug-in. Make sure to position the microphone on the side where the Stereo silkscreen indicator is facing the source. You can even have the front of the microphone be one model and the rear be a different mic model!

On some of my mics, engaging the pad switch affects the sound in a negative way. Does Sphere's pad switch change the quality of the sound?

No. The pad switch simply lowers the amplification of the mic without creating any change in frequency response or distortion.

Since there are two outputs on the Sphere microphone, how do I know which one goes where?

The included cable is color coded and labeled. Connect the Front connector to the first mic preamp input, and the Rear connector to the second preamp input.

How do I setup monitoring when using the native Sphere plug-in?

For lower-latency monitoring when using the native Sphere plug-in, one option is to use software monitoring through the plug-in and setting a low buffer size in your DAW. 

Keep in mind though, with some DAWs and computers, working at low buffer sizes can be difficult for the DAW to handle without artifacts or dropouts. 

Please note that for Avid HDX systems it is necessary to add the AAX DSP version of the Sphere plug-in before any native plug-ins to engage monitoring through the Sphere DSP plug-in. 

Another option is to just monitor the direct analog output of the front capsule with hardware monitoring, which can be done using any analog or digital mixer. Your audio interface may also include a direct monitoring feature. This option typically results in the lowest possible latency, although with this method it’s not possible to hear the plug-in modeling while monitoring. 

The Sphere microphone hardware has zero latency, just as any analog microphone does. 

The Sphere plug-in itself has 0.5 milliseconds of latency beyond the latency incurred by your DAW and I/O buffering, which in most use cases is negligible compared to any DAW processing delay. See the "Monitoring Setups" section in the Sphere manual for details. 

Tip: With Apollo and UAD hardware, and also Pro Tools DSP hardware, you can monitor Sphere plug-in modeling in realtime without any discernible latency, regardless of the DAWs I/O buffer. 

Can I use outboard processing, such as analog EQ and compression, with Sphere?

For optimum mic modeling results, don’t add any signal processing between the Sphere mic and the Sphere plug-in other than preamp gain. This includes filtering, compression, and other processing by the mic preamp, outboard gear, and audio interface A/D conversion.  

I'm selling my Sphere mic. How do I transfer ownership? 

To transfer ownership of a Sphere microphone, the new owner simply registers the microphone to their account using the UA Connect app. The mic does not need to be unregistered by the prior owner first. 

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